12/06/2011, 00.00
SYRIA

Damascus accepts Arab observers, but on conditions

Assad has informed the Arab League of his assent to observers to monitor the situation in order to avoid a tightening of sanctions. However, he also places conditions, which the Arab countries will discuss. Today Hillary Clinton meets with opposition in Geneva.
Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Damascus government has announced that it will accept international observers provided by the Arab plan to solve the crisis in the country, but not unconditionally. The Arab League has threatened to impose new sanctions if the Assad regime does not accept the part of the plan which covers the monitoring of the situation, and has responded to Damascus saying it will study its requests.

The Arab League ultimatum to the Syrian government expired Sunday. Damascus initially rejected the idea of international monitoring, but sent a letter to the Arab League in the late Sunday evening, agreeing to let in observers in if its terms are accepted . "The Syrian government has responded positively to the signing of the Protocol, based on the understanding of Syrian cooperation," said Damascus Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi. The Secretary General of the Arab League in Cairo confirmed the existence of the letter, stating that it contained "new demands. We contacted the Arab Foreign Ministers and we informed them. " Consultations are underway.

The sanctions of the Arab League placed 19 senior Syrian officials on the "black list", preventing travel in Arab countries and freezing their accounts abroad, as well as requesting 50% cut in flights to and from Syria and other forms of embargoes. The European Union and the United States are already applying sanctions on Damascus. Meanwhile, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet seven Syrian opposition members in exile today in Geneva. A first meeting had occurred on August 2 last.
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